The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

I didn’t realize that it was possible to get the stomach flu twice in less than two weeks.  Apparently so, even on top of a terrible cold.  I’m very grateful for all of the kind wishes you sent and am happy to report that we’re tentatively able to venture out in the world once more.  I’m posting a review for The Mystery of Mercy Close now, will post another one for the Juliet Stories next week.

The Mystery of Mercy Close, Marian Keyes

Penguin, 505 pages

ISBN 9780718155324

Helen Walsh doesn’t like children or animals.  She always speaks her mind.  Brash, caustic, and fiercely independent, she does whatever she wants to, whenever she feels like it.  In her teens and twenties, these qualities worked well for her; she was edgy, surprising, and fun to be around.  But age hasn’t mellowed Helen, and in her thirties, what once was charmingly unpredictable is now maddeningly unemployable.  Helen thought she found a solution when she trained as a private investigator, but her phone stopped ringing when the recession hit Ireland.  All of a sudden, wives were thinking very carefully before jeopardizing their financial security over their husbands’ dalliances.

Her apartment repossessed, finances in a shambles, and love life complicated by her boyfriend’s lingering ex-wife,  Helen knows her depression is returning when she thinks she sees vultures circling the gas station. Last time, she tried medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, yoga, self-help books, counselling, and even a stay in a psychiatric hospital.  Nothing worked, at least not permanently.  This time, the depression has resurfaced just when she needs to concentrate on paying her debts.  So when an ex-boyfriend in the entertainment industry hires her to find the missing member of a has-been boy band right before their big reunion tour, Helen accepts.

The Mystery of Mercy Close tells Helen’s story as she attempts to manage her illness, sort out her love life, and find the elusive Wayne Diffney.  The novel offers the reader an insightful, compassionate, and utterly sincere account of the experience of depression, which the author herself has struggled with personally.  Filled with warmth and humour, this story will appeal to readers enjoy the writing of Lisa Genova, Anna Quindlen and Maeve Binchy.

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9 Responses to The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

  1. Alex says:

    You know you’ve got real problems when you see those vultures circling whether it’s round a gas station or not. Get well soon.

    • Naomi says:

      Yes. Depression is often likened to a black dog following you around, and Keyes does use that metaphor in the book, but I prefer the vultures because they capture the ominous feeling so much better. And thanks for the well wishes. Illness comes with the territory of a young family in Canada in November, but expected or not, it’s not much fun.

  2. lynnwyvill says:

    Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better – stomach flu twice in two weeks, yuck! Sounds like a good book. Going to check it out.

  3. Hi, I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award and I hope you accept:

  4. Hi Naomi,
    I hope you are feeling better. It sounds like you got hit hard!

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks for your kind wishes. Yes, we did get hit hard, and just when we thought we were getting better, we got hit again! On the upside, it’s not malaria or anything, just a really bad cold/flu. Still, I’m hoping for a healthier 2013.

      Best wishes to your family over the holiday season!

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